I have used a number of B to B contact management services like Linkedin, Plaxo, and ACT! to keep my contacts updated and to network through my contacts. Plaxo and Linkedin both provide notification services, Linkedin provides “Network updates” which posts your message on the web site, although many people e-mail out to all of their contacts, and Plaxo provides Pulse Stream which notifies your contacts via an IM.
Personally, I have used the services a few times sparingly, for example when I announced that I was writing the Blog for AllBusiness, and have been concerned that the medium was difficult to control. There is no, at least apparent to me, opt-out method to enable my contacts to opt-out from future notifications which I, or they, could utilize.
I have been extra cautious in using these services as I have been the recipient of many Notifications which to me are just a Narcissistic diary of the users life played out, in some cases hourly. One of my “contacts” updated me on every meeting, flight, dinner, and networking event they experienced as if I was tuned into a soap opera and awaited every update so I could live vicariously through them. Obviously, I prefer the passive notifications via the web sites.
Recently I finally broke down and investigated Twitter after a reader from AllBusiness.com tracked down my personal e-mail address and sent me a Twitter e-mail requesting I allow him to “follow” me. The user is able to “follow” me via e-mail, or IM text to their phone, from updated scrapped from the web or from those I choose to post.
While I am not pushing Twitter onto my contacts and collected e-mail addresses, I am using the service to notify “followers” whom want to be notified when I post to AllBusiness.com. Having multiple e-mail addresses, I am using this address for article notifications only. The messages are short and can easily be ignored or passed over.
Twitter seems to me to be an excellent tool for small businesses, publishers, and families to keep in contact. Small businesses could use, not abuse, the service to send loyal customers notices of specials, discounts, and events. I wouldn’t mind a weekly notification from my local restaurant on the daily specials. I would certainly be more apt to keep my extended family updated via a short text message which was broadcast, rather than individual contact.
In this economy any business, whether large or small, needs to be creative in marketing and judicious in keeping their customers. Twitter is free, you probably already have e-mail systems set-up and a web site, and it’s a lot cheaper than door hangers!
You can get notifications for my postings here at AllBusiness.com by subscribing to my Twitter address at MRomanies(at)ATT(dot)net. Please note I have coded the address to avoid SPAM.